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EPA Reaches Important Agreement to Fund Study of Lower Passaic River
Release Date: 05/19/2004
|(#04071) New York, N.Y. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has reached an agreement with thirty one companies (see attachment) to provide funding to continue with the Superfund Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) portion of the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project.
The project is a collaboration among EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) to produce a plan to clean up and restore the 17-mile tidal stretch of the Passaic River from Dundee Dam to Newark Bay. The project, which will cost approximately $19,000,000, is being performed by EPA under its Superfund authorities and by USACE and NJDOT under the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Through the agreement, embodied in an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC), the companies will pay $10,000,000 the estimated cost of EPA's share of the project to resolve their liability with respect to the RI/FS. A 30-day public comment period on the AOC runs through June 18, 2004.
"This is an important milestone for the future of the Passaic River. Through this settlement, these companies are demonstrating their willingness to cooperate with EPA's commitment to find a lasting solution to the environmental challenges of the Passaic River. EPA avoids difficult and prolonged litigation by allowing these companies to make a cash payment to fund these studies," said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. "The important work to clean up and restore the Lower Passaic can move forward in a cooperative fashion among federal and state partners."
Information and data gathered about the river, as part of this study, will additionally serve as a tool to assist the Federal and State Natural Resource Trustees, to assess natural resource damages. EPA, USACE, and NJDOT, along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection are developing a protocol to coordinate their respective activities on the Lower Passaic River. EPA is also working to ensure that the study of Newark Bay being undertaken under a separate AOC is closely coordinated with the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project.
The AOC for the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project RI/FS is available on the project Web site at http://www.ourPassaic.org.
List of Settling Parties: